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The Globe and Mail

Anne Valerie Hash merges masculine tailoring with feminine softness in Paris

A model presents a creation by French fashion designer Anne Valerie Hash as part of her Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011/2012 fashion show in Paris July 4, 2011.


Style reporter Amy Verner is covering the major shows at Paris Couture Fashion Week this week. Follow her on Twitter @amyverner.

The designer

As her 10-year design milestone, Anne Valerie Hash opted for a couture presentation consisting of ten looks that captured her continuing pursuit to merge masculine tailoring with feminine softness. Hash's approach to couture has never been dramatic. Rather, by way of cut and drape, she puts much effort into making her vision appear effortless.

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The show

In the decadently gilded salon of the Shangri-La Hotel, guests first viewed (and some gently touched) the silhouettes on three groupings of wooden mannequins and then watched as two models on a dais alternated the same looks but in different colourways.

The statement

Hash decided to literally turn convention on its side. Translation: Up close, one black asymmetrical dress actually evoked a draped pant, held up by two angel hair-thin crisscrossing straps; while jacket lapels became a diagonal detail focus across the side of another floor-length dress. Blouses that appeared to be perfectly tucked in were actually attached to their skirts. The looks in black and chalk proved more successful than the subdued tones of dusty rose, peach and mint, which seemed at odds with her strong approach to cut.

The effect

All-in-one suits may be a logistical challenge as far as everyday wear but they create a new and intriguing approach to tailoring. By emphasizing silk - crepe, organza and mousseline - Hash's collection came across not only as seasonless but also timeless, thoughtful and finessed. This was not Winter 2011 specific so much as a career reflection and a way to define the years ahead.

The takeaway

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We've grown accustomed to seeing asymmetrical necklines (one-shoulder ennui, anyone?) but Hash's use of asymmetrical, and often dropped, waistlines was clever. Note, however, that it takes a couturier's eye to execute this well.

Amy Verner live from Couture Fashion Week in Paris

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